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strange things that happen??? #62693
02/24/06 08:51 PM
02/24/06 08:51 PM
wis-sparky  Offline OP
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 16
Hey All - with all the different threads lately I thought we could start one that tells about the stranger things that have happened to us during our workday - lets keep it clean and share some good stories - here's mine.
I do new residential construction in an upscale senior citizen complex. A while back we had a batch of smokes that kept giving nuisance alarms - you can imagine the scene that causes in a senior complex. Anyway, my company decided we would just exchange out the brand that was causing the problem, which was a couple hundred of them. One day I went to an old ladies home and started the change out, first thing I do is kill the breaker for the smokes, then test the line to make sure it's dead, then start the change-out. While I am changing out the first smoke I unplug the tail from the smoke and the hall lights go out, (hmmm, what's going on I'm thinking?). I proceed to wire up a new tail and when I connected the replacement smoke up the hall lights went back on. (At this point I'm waiting for the guys from candid camera to pop around the corner). The old lady was sitting on her couch in the living room recovering from a recent surgery - I asked her if she turned the lights in the hall off, she said no, I can't move too well - and I could tell she was kind of worried and upset - while I am talking to her I can see all the LED clocks in her home flashing - I can tell she's worried about my ability to do electrical work - I still can't figure out what happened - what caused her whole unit to lose power from me disco'ing one smoke detector - I changed the rest out, set all of her clocks for her and went and threw the breaker back on - still wondering what happened, I leave and go back and tell the other guys on the jobsite about the problem, turns out the POCO was doing line work in the area and disco'd the power for about a minute - at the exact time I unplugged the first smoke and reconnected it with the new one - what are the odds of that exact timing?!!!!!! - Long story - but is kinda funny !!

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: strange things that happen??? #62694
02/24/06 10:32 PM
02/24/06 10:32 PM
HCE727  Offline
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 186
Delaware County, PA, USA
I put in two 2x2 drop in fixtures in a basement drop ceiling on a new grounded circuit, they work fine. The customer call me back to replace two russels with two 2x2 drop in fixtures in a new drop ceiling on an existing non-grounded circuit, they work fine, customer calls me that night, lights not working, go back ,ground lights, lights work fine. Customer calls me that night, lights not working. Now I feel like a dope, can't figure it out. Voltage is fine, tubes in, ballast good. I call a friend of mine and start to tell him the problem, before I can finish he tells me he knows what it is, but lets me finish. The "u" tubes with the metal brace cause this problem. I change the tubes with the plastic brace and the lights work fine. I check the ones that I put in first for the hell of it and they had the plastic brace. Amazing!

Re: strange things that happen??? #62695
02/24/06 11:08 PM
02/24/06 11:08 PM
macmikeman  Offline
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
Honolulu, Hawaii
I was rewiring a pretty old wooden house about 12 years ago in a very nice old influential area near where our university is located. The owner was an occupant during the whole ordeal. Each day I made sure to power up as much as I could to leave her in safety- yet comfortable conditons. One day, right after I re-energized a number of branch circuits, the smell of wood smoke became really noticeable. Not like a barbeque,- this was wood smoke. There isn't a whole lot of fireplaces in my area to begin with, and this was summertime. She started to panic and thought the house was burning down. Me, I shot up the ladder to the attic to see what was going on, (right after throwing the main breaker to the house). After about a half hour I ended up peeking thru the bushes and saw a bunch of boy scouts and they were camping at the estate next door, and were making camp fires there. I will probably remember this as long as I live.

Re: strange things that happen??? #62696
02/24/06 11:43 PM
02/24/06 11:43 PM
classicsat  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 456
Back in the summer of ought three we were unloading materials with the asstance of an electric conveyor. Took a break around 4 PM EDT, went back found no power at the conveyor, and I ran around trying to find where the power failed, only to discover quite a few people lost their power too. Took a longer break whilst alternative power was arranged.

[This message has been edited by classicsat (edited 02-24-2006).]

Re: strange things that happen??? #62697
02/25/06 03:20 AM
02/25/06 03:20 AM
e57  Offline
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,876
This is one I posted here a while ago: )It got published)

Heres another one:
Doing service work years ago, and get a call from this guy, and he tells me that he and his son were trying to install CATV in the sons bed room, and he thinks he it something in the wall, and now the whole neighborhood was out. So I listen to his story and I think... Usual questions 'did you check the breaker, is it off now?' Well it is prohably just a coincidence, power outage... Until he tells me the drill he was using exploded in a fire ball. [Linked Image] "I'll be right over."

I get there to the darkened neighborhood and the owner and his 10 yr old son show me the drill and where they drilled through the wall. The son was watching on the other side in the garage to see where the drill would come through. Said there was a loud noise and said he saw a bright light ?inside? the wall. So I bash a hole there to find the blob of AL that used to be his 2/0 feeder. It melted back across the garage, through the FPE main and meter to the weather head. two quick snipps there, and spent all next day putting it back together.

In retrospect, I am very lucky there was no reconnect while I was there that night...

Mark Heller
"Well - I oughta....." -Jackie Gleason
Re: strange things that happen??? #62698
02/25/06 08:34 AM
02/25/06 08:34 AM
Active 1  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
Grayslake IL, USA
I've had the utility power go out more than once while we were on a job. When others near by loose power and look outside they see our truck and start blaming us. One summer morning we showed up to a comercial job right when the power went out. People were comming out yelling "you killed our power, I think you did something wrong, or when are you going to turn us back on". I remember one lady came up a started a conversation by saying "hot day isn't it?". I said ya it is. She said "we don't appreaciate this". Me "what do you mean". Her "you turned off our power". Me "no we didn't, it was a utility power failure" Her "don't give me that...."


Re: strange things that happen??? #62699
02/25/06 10:52 AM
02/25/06 10:52 AM
Rewired  Offline
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 558
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
I remember one morning I was getting ready for work when everything went dark... Not a problem really... I stepped out and took a look at the neighbours KwH meter as he is on a different distrubution transformer and his meter was still turning. A few neighbours that are on the same transformer as me came out asking if I had power and what was going on, told them it was most likely the transformer fuse I would call the PoCo and take care of it...
On my way in another neighbour that is always in a rush and always gets bent out of shape easily yells " What you do this time Adam??"
So I told her "Well, I tried to heat my cup of coffee up really quick with the welder but I guess it didnt work!

She believed it for the LONGEST time...
[Linked Image]


Re: strange things that happen??? #62700
02/25/06 11:23 AM
02/25/06 11:23 AM
Radar  Offline
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 349
Los Angeles, CA
Many years ago I worked for a guy who was a GC as well as an EC, and he used to take on little jobs doing general fix-ups on bank owned resi properties. One day I was told to head over to a house that needed some work done. The previous home owner had converted the garage to a rec room, and had replaced the old garage door with a 3-piece sliding door. The first thing I needed to do was to take out that door so that a regular garage door could be re-installed.

So, I get there bright & early and start whacking away at this garage door, which was located in the front of the house. No one there but me. Apparently a watchful neighbor decided to fulfill his/her civic duty and called the cops on me, figuring I was up to no good. I guess they never wondered why I would wait untill early morning daylight to start breaking into a house. Whatever, I was working away when someone wearing a badge and with a gun in his hand is yelling at me to put down the tools. I did, right quickly too. I remember thinking this could be funny so long as the cop doesn't get too panicky.

On another occasion we were fixing up a house in a run down neighborhood. Parts of the house were disappearing at night, neighbors were taking fixtures, doors, etc about as fast as we could install them. One day I stopped by to check on a subcontractor, and noticed a stripped down Camero in the garage. No wheels, engine, doors, seats, etc - nothing much but a bare body & frame. Then I noticed the kid accross the street bolting new seats into his Camero. We notified the local cops, they removed the hulk, but I don't think they ever went accross the street to talk to the kid.


There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary, and those who don't.
Re: strange things that happen??? #62701
02/25/06 02:06 PM
02/25/06 02:06 PM
Celtic  Offline
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 361
Last year or so we were trouble shooting a broken neutral on ONE circuit in an apartment building. By "we" I mean myself and two of my guys - "we" had three trucks parked outside this home.
As we are doing our thing bashing holes, I see a bright white flash outside - an electrical short/arc! I check to see if my guys are alright - they are fine and didn't even see the flash.
I go outside and see a POCO transformer quietly smoking while urinating oil onto someone's car. I call the POCO and the city FD, responsed within seconds. All the while, my guys are still inside doing their job.

I go inside and start screaming and yelling at them "WHO CUT THAT WIRE - YOU BLEW UP THE XFMER!!!" One guys turns white, the other falls to the floor laughing his tool belt off [Linked Image]

~~ CELTIC ~~
...-= NJ =-...
Re: strange things that happen??? #62702
02/25/06 05:25 PM
02/25/06 05:25 PM
mahlere  Offline
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 507
New Jersey
3 trucks and a blown up transformer - that is an expensive service call ;-)

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